Ph.D., Northern Illinois University, 1992
Early American women, early American society and culture, science and American society
Branson’s training is in the social history of early America. The topics of her
dissertation and first two monographs stem from her interest in gender roles
and gender relations in American society during the early republic (spanning
roughly the years between the 1780s and the 1830s). Her first book, These Fiery Frenchified Dames (University of Pennsylvania Press,
2001) examines women’s changing public
roles as they resulted from the social, cultural, and political forces at work
in American society in the last two decades of the eighteenth century. Her second
book, Dangerous to Know: Women,
Class and Crime in the Early Republic (University
of Pennsylvania Press, 2008) investigates the intersection of crime, class, and
gender in the early nineteenth century. Currently, Professor Branson is
completing a book entitled Consuming
Science in American Society, 1700-1860, which considers why certain sciences and
technologies suited the interests and agendas of American society at crucial
moments in the nation’s development. The monograph develops lines of inquiry
emerging in historical scholarship regarding three inter-related topics: the
promotion of scientific education and practices among non-elites, the place of
science and technology in American culture, and the development of nationalism
and national identity in the early republic and antebellum eras. Exploring the ways Americans chose to promote,
celebrate, and characterize discoveries, inventions, and mammoth civic projects
explains how Americans expressed a belief that the United States was a rising
empire. She places special emphasis on how material
culture was integral to how people experienced, interacted with, and were
introduced to science and technology – often in the guise of entertainment. Professor
Branson teaches courses on women in
early America, the American frontier, food in American society, and American
science and technology.
"These Fiery Frenchified Damese": Women, Politics, and Culture in Early National Philadelphia(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001).
Dangerous to Know: Women, Class and Crime in the Early Republic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008).
“Sex, Scandal, Violence, and Other Middle-Class Pastimes in The History
of the Celebrated Mrs. Ann Carson,” in Class and Class Struggles in
Early North America and the Atlantic World, Simon Middleton and Billy G.
Smith, editors. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008).
“From Daughters of Liberty to Women of the Republic: Women in the Era of the American Revolution” in Jay Kleinberg, Eileen Boris, and Vicki Ruiz, editors, The Practice of U.S. Women's History: Narratives, Intersections, and Dialogues, (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2007).
Strategies for Success in the Early Nineteenth-Century Literary
Marketplace: Mary Carr and the Ladies’ Tea Tray,” Journal of American
Studies, 40, no.1 (April 2006): 35-51.
“An Outlaw and Her Ghost Writer: Enigmas of Female Celebrity in Early America,” Commonplace (April 2005). http://www.common-place.org/vol-05/no-03/tales/
"The Political Education of Elizabeth Drinker," Pennsylvania History
Special Issue Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Publication of
Elizabeth Drinker's Diary, Pennsylvania History, 68, no.4 (autumn 2001):
"Etrangers dans un pays etrange: Saint-Domingan Refugees of Color in
Philadelphia," (co-authored with Leslie Patrick) in David Geggus,
editor, The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World,
(University of South Carolina Press, 2002).
"American Women and
the French Revolution: Gender and Partisan Festive Culture in the Early
Republic," (co-authored with Simon Newman) in William Pencak, editor,
Riot and Revelry (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University
"'He Swore His Life was in Danger From Me': The Attempted Kidnapping of
Governor Simon Snyder," Pennsylvania History, 67, no. 3 (summer 2000): 349-360.
and the Family Economy in the Early Republic: The Case of Elizabeth
Meredith" Journal of the Early Republic, 16, no.1 (spring 1996): 47-71.
*Reprinted in Joseph M. Hawes and Elizabeth Nybakken, editors, American
Families in Historical Perspective (University of Illinois Press, 2001).
Respectability: The Female World of Love and Crime in
Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia," Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture
"A Working Woman: The Autobiography of Ann Baker
Carson," (co-authored with Susan E. Klepp) in Life in Revolutionary
Philadelphia: A Documentary History, edited by Billy G. Smith
(University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995).
"St. Domingan Refugees in the Philadelphia Community in the 1790s,"
in Amerindians, Africans, Americans: Three Papers in Caribbean History,
edited by Barry Higman (University of the West Indies Press, 1993).
“History and Empire: Architectural Style and American National
Ambitions, 1798-1848,” forEuropean Early American Studies Association
biannual conference. University of Paris-Diderot, December 2010
American Fashion and Architecture in Transatlantic Context, 1798-1848”
for Visual Arts and Global Trade in the Early American Republic
conference. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, November, 2010
and Femininity: Gendered Scientific Practice in the Early Republic,”
for British Group Early American History conference. Oxford University,
“Enlightened Women: Science Education in
Eighteenth-Century America,” Society of Early Americanists, Hamilton,
Bermuda, March 2009
“Jefferson’s Mammoth Cheese: Natural History
and National Politics,” East-Central/American Society for
Eighteenth-Century Studies, Georgetown University, November, 2008
Associate Professor, American History, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University: 2010-present
Associate Professor, American Studies, Syracuse University: 2005-2010
Associate Professor, Historical Studies, University of Texas at Dallas: 2003-2005
Assistant Professor, Historical Studies, University of Texas at Dallas: 1997-2003
Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Dallas: 1995-1997
Assistant Professor, Southwest Texas State University:1993-1996 (on leave 1995-1996)
Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Dallas: 1992-1993
Instructor, Southern Methodist University: 1992
Instructor, University of Texas at Dallas: Spring 1992
American social and cultural history, 18th and 19th century, science and American popular culture
Research Grants and Awards
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 2005-2006
Alumna of the Year, History Department, Northern Illinois University, 2005
Chemical Heritage Foundation Travel Grant, 2002
Isaac Comly Martindale Fund fellowship, American Philosophical Society, 2001
Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship, Library Company of Philadelphia, 2000
Southwest Texas State University Summer Research Grant, 1994
Philadelphia Center (McNeil Center) for Early American Studies fellowship, 1990-1991
Work in progress
Monograph: Consuming Science: Natural Philosophy in American Culture and Society, 1700-1860